Wednesday, September 12, 2007

When Did This Happen?

Do you ever blink, and when you open your eyes you think, "My God, how old am I? When did I arrive at this section of my life?"

It's Sunday on Memorial Day Weekend, and I woke up early to help my friends move. My friends who have been living together. My friends who are engaged. I spent the first half of the day loading their belongings into a truck, so that they could move down to Virginia, into a luxury condominium. 'kay...

From there I go home, shower and shave, and then head out to an engagement party for another friend. It's a lovely day in Brooklyn. We're barbequing out on the back patio and it's wonderful. My friends are there. Some of them have brought their dogs. Some of them have brought their toddlers. And that's when it hit me...

Oh my God! When did this happen? When did I get to the age when I'm going to parties to which people bring their kids!? Just having a dog is a lot of responsibility, but these people have babies, for Christ's stake! Oh man... I know what this is! I remember these parties from when I was a kid; this is a grown-up party!!! AHHHHHHHH!!!

And then it happened.

The one-year-old found me. At fourteen months, the tike came up to where I was sitting on the bench. His dad sat down on the other side of the bench, and he plopped the kid down in between us. This kid is frickin' cute. He turns to me and starts talking to me in baby-gibberish. He reaches out and he holds my giant finger in his freakishly small hand. He stands on the bench, and puts his hand on my shoulder. And then, the moment. He puts his arms around my neck, and gives me a great big hug.

It was the sweetest thing ever, and the feelings which rushed through me were both blissful and terrifying. It felt really, really... right, somehow. It felt good. Frighteningly good, and all of a sudden it hit me, "Hell, this could be my little boy." And there it was. Suddenly, I wasn't a kid at a grown-up party; I realized that these people are me. Those who are getting married. Those who are buying apartments. Those who own dogs. Those who have kids. These are my friends, my peers. Some of them are younger than I.

The kid walked away, and I sat there and thought for a bit.

Really, everything is still bouncing around in my head, and it's hard to make heads or tails of it all, but I remember... I remember worrying about whether I would be equal to the task. Not in terms of being a loving and caring father, and not in terms of being a loving and faithful husband, but rather in the role of Provider. How would I do that?

How, if I was with the right girl, and it was the right time... how? I'm scraping by on my own here, but there ain't much extra. There's no money for an engagement ring. There's no money to buy an apartment, and there's certainly no money to raise a kid. And you know, I'm going to be honest here and admit that that scared me. That scared me a lot. I'm putting everything into following my dreams. There's no savings account. Fuck, there isn't even any health insurance, and if I got sick, or hurt... well, that's a whole other road... but suffice to say, how would I even take care of myself, let alone a family?

You know, though, things happen the way they do; whether you believe that there is a reason behind it, or not, is your business. Tonight, I am open to the possibility that maybe that's kind of why my love-life is in the state it's in. Sorry, let me plain-English that; maybe that's why I'm pretty much perpetually single. I feel that there's something I need to take care of before I do all that. It's not just a matter of "I have to make money"; I have to make money doing what I love doing. I have dreams I aim to fulfill, and at this juncture in my life, I can definitively say that I have absolutely no intention of compromising my dreams so that I can make enough money to do X, Y, and Z. I joke around about not going to undergrad a lot and so I sometimes forget that not giving myself something to fall back on was a deliberate choice. Yes, there are better jobs out there that make more money and are more palatable than what I'm doing, but I choose to continue doing crap-ass temp jobs so I can say, "No, I am not going to work today, so I can go to an audition," or "Yes, I will just go out of town for a week, and no one can tell me I can't, and if I want to come back next week without a nickel to my name, well, I have nobody else I'm disappointing." I am comfortable with starving; I am not comfortable with my kids starving. So, I'm waiting, damnit. I've got shit that needs to get done.

Now, at the same time, I would like to believe that if the right girl came along I would have the presence of mind to say, "Yes. You. Me. Here. Now." (note: being in love makes you talk in single-syllable sentences.) And what would happen then? I don't know. I hope to God that she would understand why I need to do what I do, and I hope she would be patient. Biological clocks are funny, though, and I certainly just rediscovered today that men have them, too.

I suppose we do our best to follow our dreams and our hearts, and we deal with life as best we can. Try to know the right path when you come to it, and try to remember why you set out in the first place.

-Brent Rose 5.27.07 10.10pm

P.S. After completing the above entry, the sky opened up, and I played in the rain, naked, on my roof. So there.

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